Although distance learning is new to K-12 education, adult learners have had the option of remote learning for decades. It’s no secret that more students are learning remotely in 2022 than in pre-pandemic times, but data strongly suggests that distance learning is here to stay. While remote learning is less of an adjustment for adults, there’s still room for improvement in the curriculum materials that are provided, and especially when it comes to meeting the needs of engagement in higher education.
The pandemic created novel challenges for adult learners. Traditionally, students at technical and community colleges had the opportunity to check-in with their instructors and peers in a physical classroom. These on-campus visits provided a forum for clarifying learning and ensuring that every learner was progressing and achieving their goals. With the campus shutdowns of 2020, college administrators sought out ways to standardize distance learning so that students could remain focused on gaining new skills and information through accessible formats, and not mix-and-matched materials that compromised learning during the sudden shutdowns of 2020.
Case Study: Boardworks Empowers Adult Learners at Georgia Piedmont Technical College
One technical college in the Atlanta metro area recently discovered the power of standards-aligned, fully customizable curriculum supplements for adult distance learners. Dr. Meghan McBride had seen it all over the course of her education career, or so she thought. When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, Dr. McBride and the team of administrators at Georgia Piedmont Technical College knew that their institution needed an empowering solution for the leap to remote learning, not a mediocre holdover.
“When the program shut down, we didn’t have a way to reach our students online. We had a supplemental program that allowed students to learn asynchronously on their own, but it was only a supplement, not a real way to reach students. While our teachers put together an a-la-carte toolkit for teaching online, we didn’t have a means of gauging the instructional quality or running reports.”
Not only did her team have the foresight to see that remote learning would remain a common avenue of learning, they also saw the need for a solution that would enrich learning over the long term. Prior to the pandemic, the college had been administering courses traditionally. Suddenly, they were in a difficult situation where the instructional materials were inaccessible by students.
An Eye-Opening Shift in Thinking
The first few platforms they tried weren’t meeting the needs of their students or teachers. Dr. McBride’s team struggled to find what they knew the college’s students deserved.
“We looked everywhere for content, but none of the vendors we typically use could help. It quickly became apparent we would need to buy something as the time required to create new content for Blackboard was prohibitive, especially since most of our teachers had never taught online before. I was determined to buy something to make it easier for the teachers.”
As many K-12 schools had concurrently learned, syncing instructional materials with remote learning platforms was tedious, and no one wants to let hard work and investments go to waste. Dr. McBride started to shift her thinking from simply finding the right holdover that would suffice until the pandemic vanished, to thinking long-term.
“Over the course of the pandemic, my vision became to create a robust, permanent distance learning footprint. We were putting all this effort into it. If the pandemic ever goes away, we aren’t going to let all of our hard work go to waste. So we wanted something that was permanent and interactive and that would relieve the burden for our teachers, but also be quality content for our students.”
Boardworks Offers an Unmatched Solution for Adult Learning Programs
The pandemic brought numerous content gaps to the surface. It would be one thing if these critical gaps were short-lived, but 96% of Georgia Piedmont Technical College continued distance learning in 2021. The need for a lasting solution was clear. After careful consideration of multiple EdTech resources, Dr. McBride’s team ultimately selected Boardworks Education’s turnkey library of fully-customizable lessons and activities.
Why did Georgia Piedmont Technical College choose Boardworks over dozens of other products? Curriculum coordinators recognized the value of Boardworks presentations, which enable the student to manipulate the numerous interactive portions of instructional materials and activities, ultimately making it possible to adapt instructional materials to personal learning styles, and even empowering adult learners to ‘learn by doing’, which previously was unthinkable with one-size-fits-all materials.
Will There Be a Place for Online Supplements Long-Term?
More than three-quarters of college curriculum coordinators expect online learning enrollment will increase post-pandemic versus pre-2020. Although remote learning isn’t favored by all, 73% of college students say they enjoy online learning. These realities highlight the importance of carefully considering which path to pursue when selecting digital curriculum supplements.
It’s clear there will be a place for online education post-pandemic. However, not all resources available on the market today are carefully aligned and regularly updated to ensure a standards-based approach is optimized for students and instructors alike. Dr. McBride immediately noticed the quality offerings and flexibility that Boardworks offers.
“What makes Boardworks such a good fit for us is that it’s standards-based and we are a standards-based program. We don’t have to worry about Boardworks content not matching what we’re teaching. It’s just perfect. And we’re able to make changes when needed.”
Learn more about how Boardworks transformed online learning at Georgia Piedmont Technical College in our case study.
Implementing Boardworks at Your Institution
With Boardworks, you’re never on your own. A member of the Boardworks team will work closely with your school’s teacher-leader to ensure a smooth launch and easy sailing moving forward. Furthermore, all Boardworks materials are customizable. Instructors will experience firsthand the ways that both instructional materials and interactives can be tailored to meet the needs of the course or individual student.
A common theme among those who’ve experienced Boardworks firsthand is that there’s no going back to the old way of doing things. With remote learning certain to remain a facet of adult education, Boardworks paves the way for enriched, customizable standards-based learning for students of all backgrounds. Plus, they can take their classroom with them wherever they go.
“By offering this flexibility, we can help them go home from work, be with their families, and complete their course work safely. Boardworks makes it possible without impacting the quality of their learning. Remote learning helps us reach more people and will remain a permanent part of our program. Thanks to Boardworks, we will never go back to the old way of doing things.”
Ready to Experience Boardworks for Yourself?
Schedule a personalized demo to experience how Boardworks turn-key curriculum supports provide refreshing, aligned and customizable content that goes beyond the status quo and rethinks what’s possible. Our team of support professionals is ready to help your institution seamlessly incorporate all that Boardworks has to offer into your adult learning curriculum.